Minister approves bird flu prevention zone measures

Minister approves bird flu prevention zone measures

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will come into effect in Northern Ireland from midnight on November 17.

Agriculture minister Edwin Poots made the announcement  in response to “multiple detections” of the H5N1 virus in wild birds across GB.

The move places a legal requirement on all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

It follows “multiple detections” of the H5N1 virus in wild birds across GB.

Announcing the introduction of the AIPZ, Minister Poots said: “The recent positive findings of H5N1 in wild birds in the Republic of Ireland suggest that the disease may already be present here in Northern Ireland.

“I have therefore taken the decision to declare an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone from midnight 17 November based on sound expert advice and in consultation with industry.

‘Take action now’

“This is a necessary precautionary step that requires all bird keepers to take appropriate action to review and enhance the measures to protect their birds from this highly infectious disease.”

Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Dr Robert Huey, added: “This introduction of the AIPZ is necessary to help prevent any contact that wild birds might otherwise have with poultry or other captive birds. It reduces the risk of contamination from the virus to food and water provided to poultry and other captive birds therefore reducing opportunity for the disease to spread between premises.

“I am urging all flock keepers, even if you keep just one bird, to take action now to improve biosecurity in order to prevent an incursion of the disease into our poultry flock. If Avian Influenza were to enter our Northern Ireland flock, it would have a significant and devastating impact on our poultry industry, international trade and the wider economy.”

Bird flu cases have been confirmed in captive birds and poultry in five locations ibn GB while the Department of Agriculture said there had also been “confirmed cases in wild birds across four locations in the Republic of Ireland where similar measures are also being introduced on November 17.